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Winery #59: Vigna Petrussa (Colli Orientali, Italy)

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

Driving three hours east to nearly the Italy-Slovenia border, we arrived at Vigna Petrussa located in the Colli Orientali region of Italy. Colli Orientali means “eastern hills” in Italian, which is an extremely accurate description of the landscape where Hilde Petrussa and her daughter, Francesca, produce the wines of Vigna Petrussa. Hilde’s mother, Nonna, began the family tradition of female leaders in the wine industry that now spans three generations.

Francesca led the seated tasting experience, introducing us to nine wines representative of Petrussa’s production line. Francesca explained how the strong, cold Bora wind comes from the Gulf of Trieste (southeast of the region) keeping the grapes dry and helping to reduce fungus growth despite the region’s significant amount of rainfall each year. Another unique characteristic of the area is the Ponca soil, a soil composed of sandstone and marl. This well-draining soil with poor nutritional properties is perfect for quality viticulture as it forces the grape vine to struggle and find resources to survive, producing refined and complex grapes. A quote from the movie Bottle Shock directed by Randall Miller sums it up best, “you want to limit the irrigation because it makes the vines struggle, intensifies the flavor. A comfortable grape, a well-watered, well-fertilized grape grows into a lazy ingredient of a lousy wine.”

Our favorite wine we tasted was the 2018 Richenza, a unique white blend of the indigenous Friulano grape combined with Malvasia Istriana, Riesling Renano (not the same grape as Riesling), and Picolit. This type of blend of white indigenous and international grapes in the Colli Orientali region is referred to as a Super-White. Francesca explained how the grapes are actually fermented and matured separately then reassembled into a blend at the end of the production. The wine is then kept for six months in bottles before release to fully integrate. In order to preserve its strong aromatic intensity, the Riesling Renano is aged in stainless steel tanks. The remainder of the blend is aged 18 months in oak barrels to develop greater body and finesse through limited oxygen exposure in the barrels as well as develop a greater complexity of aromas and flavors of vanilla and spice from the oak. We found the wine’s bouquet of peach, pears, apple, white blossom, and vanilla combined with the full-bodied texture extremely appealing. This wine has the ability to develop into an even more complex wine with age due to its nearly pronounced aromas and flavors along with the wine’s refreshing acidity and long-lasting finish.

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi's Rating: 1 Paw Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Seated Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes

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